- TABLE OF CONTENTS
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STUDY - MORAL
ISSUES - KING
JAMES BIBLE - CULTS
A GOOD FRIEND.....
YOU ARE AN EXAMPLE OF SOMETHING TO SOMEONE.....?
What are they learning about the Christian life from YOU?
Whether you are a preacher serving a local church, or you are a Mom keeping the home and raising a couple of kids, or you are manager of a call center, you are to be someone's example. Each of us is an example of something to someone, for good or for bad.
Thessalonians 1:6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received
the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
I believe that if you stay with this article, you will learn something about yourself, and you may hear from the Holy Spirit-- how to be more useful to your friends.
There is a peninsula in the Aegean Sea of Greece called Athos. It is inhabited only by Greek Orthodox monks. They do not allow women on the island because they think the desire for women is a distraction. They spend their days in contemplation, meditation, and constipation of the mind. They are cool in their own eyes, but they are worthless as tits on a boar hog to the rest of humanity, and they are 100% worthless to God for any of his sovereign purposes for this world.
Why is this?
Answer: They lust to be cool in the eyes of each other, and they love to be seen as cool to wimpy minded ga ga journalists who visit the island and exalt their deformed spirituality. Other than that, Athos is a place for sodomite men to flee to in order to feel holy and queer for the rest of their lives. THAT is why women are unwanted there.
On Athos, to these monks, dressed in their sacral robes, chanting repetitious prayers, eating their meals in silence as the Bible is read, and maintaining a pious demeanor all day, their sodomy seems almost part of the cool life.
If you too want to be cool in the eyes of your friends, you have totally failed in your duty to Jesus Christ. His command to his disciples, and indirectly to you, is this:
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
1 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Are you cool to your friends? If so, you are a total failure. That includes all you cool preachers who have a covey of witless clones gathered around you nodding and amening to your cool blather, bluster, and bull. And, I include all you preachers of the mega churches of the world whose toothy grin wows the masses and asses.
So, God has blessed you with his Word, and with illumination by the Holy Spirit, for this reason:
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.
6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
You are either living your life as an example of Jesus' zeal, or you are a church house cool head and limping on both legs spiritually. Either way, you are an example of something. And, someone is learning what the Christian life is, or what it is not, from YOU.
Are you cool, or are you all about Jesus Christ?
When I was pastoring in the High Desert of California, a fellow came into my life, whom we will call Jack, who was troubled in every possible way. I spent many hours on the phone being tender, factual, and often rough on rats, trying to convince him to follow after the Christ he professed to believe in. I never had reason to question his faith, but he would almost never do the right thing. He was not always outright wicked, but also, he was seldom really victorious. He attended a church a bit far from our church, and I finally convinced him he needed better local church fellowship. He started attending a Bible preaching Baptist church with a godly older pastor.
After several months at that church Jack had reached about the same point he had with me. So, the pastor called a deacons' meeting, and he asked Jack to be present. In the meeting the pastor said this, and I am close to the pastor's exact words, "Jack, you have a great profession of faith, but you have no works to convince any of us that you are really born again. We are not questioning your salvation, but we are asking you to produce some spiritual fruit to help us believe you really are born again."
Well, that really made Jack panic. So, he started inviting men where he worked to come to church with him. A couple of these unsaved coworkers asked Jack about what he believed. He told them, "I am a lousy example of a Christian, but if you will come to church with me Sunday, you will learn all about it."
Again, Jack seemed to me to be failing to finish the real task needed, that is, get his life to be like Jesus' life. Well, God honored Jack's limping form of witnessing, and a couple men came to church with him and got saved. Jack was encouraged by the fruit God allowed him to have, in spite of his crippled sort of witnessing, and Jack moved on from victory to victory.
Now, what is Jack an example of?
Jack was not cool. He also did not think he was cool. He communicated to other people that he was not cool. But, Jack had one thing going for him, at least after that pastor told him that he needed to prove he was really born again. Jack did have Jesus Christ as his Savior. God honored that, and God used uncool Jack.So, how about you? Who takes the Gospel and Jesus Christ seriously because of YOUR example?
If you survived the introduction above without clicking out of here, then let's check on ourselves and see how we can become real examples of Jesus Christ to our friends.
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
A true friend sticks close, but he is even closer when life gets ugly.
You are the one God will most likely use to help you friends through the rough places of life. You have no choice in the matter. God simply works this way, and he expects you eagerly participate.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
As I said before, this burden bearing is not a choice. It is YOUR calling. Burden bearing is what drove me to write this article. If even one of you folks who visit here will benefit from this, I did my job for Christ. Frankly, I would get a lot more readers by amusing people. That is fun, but it is rarely edifying.
In Verse 2 above we see a Greek word, "Baros," which is a weight in general, any weight, and "abundance" is implied in the Greek. It is a substantial problem in your brother's life.
In Verse 5 we see another word for "burden" which is "Phortion" (for-tee-on) in the Greek, and this word is in the diminutive. This is your burden, your lesser burden. And, in case you think you still have too much burden, this word was used long ago in Greece for the word "invoice." You got your burden as part of the transaction between you and the Savior who died on Mount Calvary so you could be a child of God. Stop whining please. Deal with it. It came in the transaction at Calvary.
Any professional counselor will tell you that he makes no progress with people if, while trying to help them, he unloads his own burdens on them as they tell him theirs. If you join a troubled saint in a mutual pity party, you both end up miserable.
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
You are in the yoke with Jesus, YOUR friend. Try putting just one ox in a yoke made for two. See what happens-- you get circles instead of long straight furrows. Your little burden is given you by Jesus to bear with him. It is used by God to attract the lost, or your troubled brother in Christ, so they want to get in the yoke with Jesus, like YOU are.
I would not labor over this unless there were a doctrinal truth here..... call it "The doctrine of burden bearing" if you like." Burdenology" for you boys over at the Seminary. And, don't you DARE write a thesis on burden bearing if you do not intend to DO it.
Your burden is not the same overwhelming burden of your brother. Your burden is measured out by God as a burden you should have expected. "Phortion" is a burden you should be able to bear because God promised not to give you more than you can handle.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Now, the punch line..... YOU are the example, the audio visual "reality show" that God is using to help the other brother learn how to bear his burden. God knows what he is doing. Are you helping your brother learn spiritual survival, or are you a distraction?
1 Corinthians 14:12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
I remind you that burden bearing is not about just paying someone's bills, mediating some confrontation your friend is having, or listening to his sorrows endlessly. The verse above makes it clear that in the Lord's Church we excel beyond feely feely worldly friendship-- we seek to edify one another.
Thus, how can we be friends to the saints and do it God's way?
Are you an example in self-control and measured rational living to your brother?
Moses said, Psalms 90:12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Jesus said, Matthew 6:34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Take Moses and Jesus together, and what do we learn? We learn that we are to deal only with today (Jesus), but we learn also to use today in the context of a whole life (Moses). Jesus is not telling us to ignore our life progress. He is simply telling us to deal with today only so that we do today well.
Are you ramming and slamming every moment without any priorities? This is not about efficiency, it is about reality. You will NOT get everything done today that you planned. Go ahead, make a list if what helps you get the machine moving (Moses). But, you cannot plan interruptions into your to-do list (Jesus). Also, when you made your list you did not plan for your friends, did you? You planned for YOU. Friends are often a hack in the flow of life.
Each ship must be moved to the loading dock, where the crane is, to be unloaded. Which ship do you move first. This is obvious. The ship with
the broken boiler, that will not start, is unknown. This is a graphic/parable based on the teaching of Moses and Jesus.
So, HACK right now. That is, cut in on yourself so that you learn to take hacks in stride. What opportunity have you missed that would be lost forever because you were all about YOU and your to do list?
How do we salvage today when we realize it is going smoothly, but we are not seeing anything happening that reminds us of Jesus or his Apostles?
And, does GOD have permission to hack your life?
Providential Hacks by God Himself:
I was walking out of a big super market nearby, having shopped for my wife. Everything was flowing along nicely, I had everything on my list crossed out, and I would get home when planned. I saw a fellow sitting in a pick up truck waiting for his family to return from shopping. I also saw a Harley Davidson motorcycle sitting next to his truck. I stopped to admire the toy motorcycle I never had but still have youthful dreams about, and I turned to the guy in the truck and made some remark about these great American motor cycles.
Off he went telling me about how he used to ride and race them, how he was a stock car race driver, and how he was hurt bad in an accident. That lead to his having lots of time to kill, then to his bar room day, then to his Atheist rage in those days, and finally to his revelation that he was offending God, and of his repentance and confession of faith in a dark ally walking home one night.
It did not end there. He said he went right back into his favorite bar on Sepulveda Blvd. in San Fernando Valley in California and told the good old boys, "I just got saved." They assured him it would wear off. It did not, and one by one his drinking friends asked him about his conversion. This happened over drinks of beer, and he had no consciousness at the time that the Holy Spirit did not like this bar room evangelism of his. Nor did he think of himself as an evangelist.
He said he lead several of the guys to Christ, and they started reading the Bible in the bar regularly. The bar maid turned out to be a Christian (I swallowed hard when he told me that). She had been praying for this guy to be born again, and now she started sending customers to him who were troubled. (I know, this does not fit our notions or where and how God works, right? Deal with it.)
The other bar maid got saved, and one day they all held court and decided they would replace the Rocka Billy music on the juke box with Christian music. I imagine it was contemporary and a lot of fluff, but it was obvious that the salt of the earth was seeping in.
The bar owner came in one day (he owned several bars), heard the music, and asked the bar maid what she thought she was doing putting on Christian music. She said the customers asked for it. He told her to get rid of it, and the bar good old boys threatened to go to another bar if he changed the music. The owner went along with them, and then he got eaten up with curiosity. What on earth happened in his bar? He asked questions, and the bar maid started witnessing to him. One day the bar owner finally confessed faith in Jesus Christ.
God hacked my day in that parking lot by moving some guy to park his Harley Davidson right next to another guy's pick up truck. God knew I could not resist those monster motor cycles.
I will not blame you if you do not believe that story, but I promise you that is exactly how I heard it. I asked the guy how the story ended, and he said the owner of the bar decided he could not run bars and be right with God. You Fundamental Baptists will be happy to know he closed all his bars and sold them. My new friend went on to find a local church and walk with Christ. But, the end did not come until God saved all the souls he had chosen unto salvation from that unlikely missionfield in a bar.
Would I do that? Never.
Would I question that a sovereign God could allow something like that? Never.
You see, God interrupted my day to hear something I really needed to hear. I went home rejoicing but also asking God what he was trying to tell me. I realized it was not about being more contemporary and using worldly means to do God's work. Contemporary Christianity is not about the Gospel, it is about abandonment of holiness in worship in order to get nickels and noses and a butt every 24 inches. If a mega church preacher went into a bar to "reach them for Christ," he would end up reaching them for his attendance rolls, THAT IS ALL. They would still be drunks.
My experience in that parking lot was about me learning not to tell God what he could do. I needed that A LOT MORE then I needed to finish my to-do list that day.
Also, God showed me that it was not a sign of being disorganized to hack one's day. I hacked the day, I stopped to look at a "hog" (Harley Davidson), and I have a memory that is priceless. Without that hack, that day would be totally lost to my memory.
And, the truth is, God hacked ME! He set all that up in his sovereign will, and I got the blessing and the lesson he wanted me to have. If I had not learned long ago that impromptu is in the Bible believer's dictionary, I would have rushed right on home. Do you not like the word "impromptu" in the Christian vocabulary? Try this.....
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
"Time and chance" happen to all of us, according to Solomon. There are Moses and Jesus again. Time is about numbering days and lives, while chance is about today. Now, if you do not believe God is sovereign in all the affairs of man, and you in particular, then your idea of chance is just blind luck. I believe God is in the details as well as in the history of whole lives and whole dispensations. And, I believe God arranges the details of my life. So, I am learning to hack my day to his glory. This is what I mean by impromptu.
Are you catching on yet. If not, keep reading bunky..... I think you will get it soon.
Jesus was interrupted all the time. It was either Zacchaeus- a man up in a Sycamore tree- or a lady with a sick daughter. But, think of this..... Jesus, unlike you and me, knew by sovereign omniscience when each hack was coming, but he did not avoid them. Now, if God the Son allowed himself to be distracted and interrupted at random, you better stop fretting when God hacks your day. His hacks can be the most powerful moments in your life.
But, do you ever hack your own day? When the rush is on, and you feel like you have been stampeded down this same frantic road a thousand times, do you have the sense to hack yourself?
So, you do hack your day, great. But have you ever considered it a ministry? Help your brother in Christ hack his day! Remember, this article is all about your going beyond personal victory to show your brother how to do this.
It is as simple as just saying a word to someone about your blessings, or by stopping to admire their classic old pick up truck, and chat with the owner for a few minutes. But, how about when you are with a brother in the Lord? God has his own way of turning hacks into fulfilling his sovereign will. Do not be such a fanatical Calvinist about the sovereignty of God that he has to send you to the Emergency Room of the hospital to get you where he can use you his way. Again, show your brother how to hack his day by hacking it with him.
I have tuned pianos for thirty years, and I still tune a few to keep busy. Busy, BAH, and I claim to be retired? I find that the word retired makes me tired. I think I need to be retrained by my Lord. Say, how about hacking ME? HERE
Well, when I left the house to tune pianos I would have three to five customer cards in my pocket. They had all been told approximately when I would arrive. I had great hopes of coming home having tuned all of them. But, all too often I would be tuning piano number one or two, and I would find some serious mechanical problem in the piano that needed fixing, and it could even diminish the piano's sound or playability.
So, I showed the customer the problem, and they usually asked if I could fix everything in one visit, not just tune it. So, I called all the other customers down the line, put off my arrival with them, rescheduled the last customer of the day, and plowed into the job. Many times, and I am not saying this to make this story better, I would end up having lunch or coffee with the first customer, and during that time they would share some horrible burden they were bearing. I would then either pray with them, or I might be able to share with them the hope of life with Jesus Christ bearing their burden with them.
If I had not had the interruption, I would have pushed through the tuning and left the piano in tune but not very pleasant to play. Customers leave their tuner alone when he is tuning. There is this "artist at work" mystique with piano tuning. So, hacking my schedule was an act of mercy to the customer. Better to risk hacking my day and make the customer in front of me happy, even if a customer later in the day is grumpy because he got rescheduled. And, I would have missed the blessing of bearing someone's burden if I stuck to my schedule. The fact is, this happened many many times. And, it made a good profession into a ministry for Christ also.
Some hacks by God are extremely providential:
George Middleton was a missionary back in the Canada on furlough from Ethiopia. He spoke at a missionary conference in Philadelphia, and then he took the train to the airport. While standing on the train station platform, some plain clothes cops ran up and grabbed him. They hauled him to the police station and questioned him. He finally was able to convince them who he was. George is one of those men who have a very unecclesiastical face. He looks like a truck driver of a longshoreman..... or a criminal.
The police apologized for the arrest and told George that he looked exactly like a criminal they were tailing. George went to the airport to catch another plane. He called home to Toronto to tell his wife why he was not on the first plane. His wife went into hysterics sobbing and praising the Lord. She finally was able to tell George, "The plane you were supposed to be on crashed, and everyone on board was killed."
He That Believeth
He that believeth shall not make haste
In useless hurry his strength to waste;
Who walks with God can afford to wait,
For he can never arrive too late.
He that believeth shall not delay;
Who carries the word of the King on its' way
Keeps pace with Jahovah's marching tune,
And he can never come too soon.
He that believeth shall walk serene,
With ordered steppings and leisured mien,
He dwells in the midst of eternities,
And the timeless ages of God are his.
Annie Johnson Flint [altered]
Isaiah 28:16 ...he that believeth shall not make haste.
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.
Hacked by God. How about joining the club? And, how about showing your brother in the Lord how to hack?
Effective Communication: Hack with the Right Words
The guy in the checkout line is thrashing badly while bagging your groceries. He is trying to bag for three lanes, going back and forth, and it is not working well. Step up close, and say, "Hey fella, if no one else notices you're trying hard, I do." Or, say what fits you. Then, if you want to really feel good about life, hand him $5.
Some pious soul reading this will say, "But, you missed an opportunity to give him the Gospel." I did not. I was living the Gospel, and sometimes it simply feels good to show kindness, maybe just sow some seed. Jesus fed the five thousand, and eating his miracle fish and bread was not the Gospel as such. That probably took up several hours. But, Jesus was acting like Jesus, and Jesus was doing his Father's will. If that did not answer your question, try this Dick and Jane plain English:
Ephesians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Proverbs 14:21 He that despiseth
his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.
People all along the way, every day, need just what you have..... the joy of the Lord. Look for hack opportunities. Be a hacker for God. You were not called of God to be a grand success. You were called to be like Jesus where ever you are.
Communications, that was the topic here. Do you communicate by your speech, and, what do you communicate? How about body language? When you talk to your friends, especially the ones you claim to be "ministering" to, what messages and signals are you sending?
"That guy is sure in a hurry."
"He is just talking and repeating stuff he says to everyone."
"When he quotes the Bible he is PROVING he is right, not trying to help me."
"I like this guy, I think he really cares about me."
At the barber shop, "I declare, that thar preacher is a damn good listener."
Or, for you in the outback, "Aye mate, that vicar is a lovely bloke."
Or, in Kenya, "Kumbe, neno la yeye pasto ne tamu sana."
Here is Jesus showing that he cared about the listener. I wish we could see Christ's body language and the emotions of the disciples, but Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John did not have YouTube back then. The following passage fires our imaginations as we try to visualize the things Jesus did to communicate. For you see, your actions often speak much louder than you words, and you actions PROVE your words are real:
John 13:1 Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.
2 And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him;
3 Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;
The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, did WHAT?
4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.
5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
6 Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?
7 Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.
8 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.
9 Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.
10 Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
11 For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean.
12 So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you?
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
And, if you KNOW these things, but if you do not DO these things, will you be happy?
Washing feet has not gone out of fashion, my friend. I am not talking about a ritual or sacramental exercise of a denominational distinction Sunday morning. Foot washing is predictable to a servant of Jesus Christ. Often you will run into a believer groaning about some struggle in the work place or at home. Or, they show terror of the present government and its schemes to enslave the masses to their agenda. You may be on hand when a man comes home from work where he had to hear filth and blasphemy all day long. Do you listen only to join in and add worthless content and vent your own frustrations with wicked society? Or, do you ask God for just the right words and Bible reference to wash that brother's feet?
Now, THAT is communication, Bible believer. That is hacking life to the glory of God. And, your brother who is new in the Faith is watching and learning. What is he learning by watching you?
Calculated Risk Taking:
"A large leniency should be observed toward the man who uses influences only to get himself a place near the flashing of the guns." Teddy Roosevelt
Fear destroys more Christian victory than Satan himself. In fact, Satan thrives on fear.
Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursuith: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Proverbs 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.
So, are you letting fear drive you?
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
We are talking about the risks of life. The idea of risk taking implies moving forward through fear to accomplish better things. Every time you drive the highways you take risks. Even if you sell your car and buy a horse, you will ride it with risks. Horses spook, horses step in holes and throw the rider, and the best horse may kick just as you walk behind it because a horse fly bit him. So, what are you fearing?
"When you see ten problems coming down the road, if you wait long enough, nine of them will go into the ditch."
Eternal risk is removed for you, saint--
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
Why do we fear?
Answer: Because there is a law of sin and death, that is, the nature of man is sinful and wicked. All men are sinners from birth, and men do nasty things to each other, and their sin and wicked actions cause trouble. Trouble causes fear because we anticipate that sinners are running loose and may trouble us, even if it is only running a stop sign just as we arrive at the intersection.
God has called you to take risks, in fact, just think of all the great men of the Bible whom God shows us as examples. You will find risk takers from Genesis to The Revelation.
How about two soldiers versus a whole garrison?
1 Samuel 14:1 Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.
2 And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;
3 And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the LORD'S priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.
4 And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.
5 The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.
6 And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.
7 And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.
If there is a room named "REPLAYS" in heaven, you will probably find me there watching scenes like this. But, how about you? Will there be any replays in heaven about YOU that will have 10 million views? Well, this is tough stuff my friend, but you will only be noted later if you take risks for your Savior NOW.
In fact, I believe I am right in saying that you will not see much good come in the building of Christ's Church in this world without risk takers all along the way.
" .....it may be that the LORD will work for us," but, ONLY if we take risks.
"Every Christian," said Stephen Neil about the early church, "knew that sooner or later he might have to testify to his faith at the cost of his life"
Joe Fox was a friend in Arizona who worked for a pest control company. He would go to homes to spray for termites, and many customers would ask, "Is that poison safe?" That is an Oxymoronic question, right? Poison is not safe. Joe would make it clear that no poison is ultimately safe by nature, and occasionally the customer would send him away. Some people are stuck on stupid.
Are you stuck on stupid craving a safe life and a Christian experience with no risks? I hope not.
But more urgently, how about your Christian brother in Christ? Does he see an intelligent risk taker in his friendship with you?
In our discussion of being a better example to others, we are still talking about better personal motivations and self-control. And again, as you order your life in this next skill, God expects you to help your brother learn how to follow your example.
Did you ever take a shortcut that actually ended up costing you? Were there red flags? What lesson did you learn? In hindsight, what signals did you miss that would have prevented you taking the short cut?
A short cut is a risk for sure. But, is it a smart one?
There is a short cut in southeastern Arizona between Sonoita and Sahuarita. It is called Box Canyon Road, and it is gravel and winds in and out of a huge dry river draw. Every curve is blind. The drop off along the side is treacherous, but it is a lot shorter than the safer route. I have traveled it in my piano tuning days, and I survived every time. But, there were young bucks in pick up trucks who seemed to get a rush out of driving that road at high speed, so it became very dangerous.
You ask, "Was that wise to use that short cut?" No, and it was not foolish either. It was a risk, I took it, and I always managed to dodge the crazies.
TE Lawrence (of Arabia), the famous military British strategist, helped take Jerusalem in 1917, along with General Allanby, in a coordinated attack on the Turks. He took a short cut through the desert arriving east of Jerusalem. The Turks knew that no one would try that because it was suicide-- the desert claimed the life of anyone who tried it. Lawrence and his Arab fighters did it, and the Turks were routed and Jerusalem delivered of 700 years of Turkish oppression.
But, he could have died, right?
So, you took a short cut, and it did not work out. It is now time to try to determine if you missed an obvious bit of information that God showed you. If God did not clearly show you something deadly in the short cut, then it is God's will that you took the short cut, and it did not work out.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
God was there all the time. He has plans to use your short cut fiasco to his glory by and by.
Furthermore, a short cut is a hack of your day. Risk taking is a hack of your day. And very often, someone was watching-- your wife and kids, and possibly born again or unsaved friends. How you deal with a short cut of hack that seems to go all wrong is the ultimate test. How do you react?
"If it had not been for those disgusting people in the way I would have been alright."
"All I wanted to do when I talked to that guy was show some kindness, and he told me to shove off and mind my own business."
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin.
"When they reject the Gospel at least we are handing in evidence for the prosecution."
The last three quotes are the kind that stick with people more than anything you can say in many converstaions.
Answer: These last three men are EXAMPLES or the mind of Christ when things seem to go wrong.
In discussing motivations and self-control, have you been keeping your brother in mind? Your life experiences should be an example to your brother who has burdens too heavy to bear.
How you go though your day,
your hacking to avoid making a robot of yourself,
your words in the market place and at work,
your risk taking,
and your dealing with things that did not work out the way you planned.....
this is how you are an example of how Jesus would deal with these things?
Someone is watching, and that someone may be a ten year old kid sitting at your dinner table Daddy.
TO PART TWO-
"Growing you ministry" is a buzz word in the mega church mob.
We discuss next how you need to be growing in you personal ministry as a Bible believer.